With the Christmas holiday season just around the corner, it is easy to get caught up in a last minute frenzy of gift shopping, card sending, decorating, planning and socializing. It is, however, a time of year when our manners really matter.
Christmas calls for us to spend time with family, friends and colleagues. While we often welcome the annual chance to let our hair down, take a break and kick back, Christmas can, in reality, sometimes all seem a bit much.
Every year Debrett's is asked about how to survive Christmas. This year, we complied a list of quick tips to ensure that manners don't slip this festive season...
The 12 Rules of Christmas
1. The Office Party: Eat, drink and be merry, but know when to draw the line. Retain your professional gloss, be cautious of overindulging and don't do anything you'll regret in the morning...
2. Christmas Cards: While it's OK to send a Christmas email to colleagues and computer-savvy friends, don't forget that some friends and family will still appreciate receiving a traditional card set by post.
3. Round-Robins: Enclose a short personal letter in cards to friends or relatives who are rarely seen, but avoid inflicting a boastful litany of the family's achievements on your entire Christmas card list.
4. Re-gifting: The recycling of unwanted presents should be approached with caution. Is the item unused and in perfect condition? Is there any possible link to the original giver? If in doubt, buy something new.
5. Christmas Tipping: If you've been happy with a service throughout the year, then give a bonus or spare a fiver for the cleaner, babysitter, dustman, paperboy etc.
6. Mind the Mistletoe: Never refuse a festive peck, but remember that mistletoe kissing is strictly a cheek-to-cheek activity. Equally, if you're struck down by the lurgi, then stand back rather than risk spreading your germs.
7. The Perfect Houseguest: Be punctual and arrive laden with goodies. Offer to help, but know when to get out of the kitchen.
8. The Perfect Host: Be welcoming, organized, thoughtful and flexible. You're opening up your home, so never let your guests feel like they are in the way.
9. Don't be a Scrooge: Embrace the festive spirit. Never let your lack of enthusiasm spoil everyone else's fun, especially if there are children around.
10. Perfect Presents: Always react with surprise and delight, no matter what you've been given. Remember that someone has taken the time to choose and wrap a gift for you, so you can take the time to be gracious and thankful.
11. Festive Fun: Go with the flow. Whether it's charades or or a board game, a long walk or the afternoon film, it's good manners to muck in. Remember, it's only a day or two...
12. Thank You notes: Letters of thanks for hospitality and presents should be sent promptly and preferably received by the second week of January.
Remember, Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration and happiness, so don't let your manners let you down and spoil the festive fun for everyone else.